Blackberry Not Dead and Won’t be for a Long Time

Blackberry has eleven percent favorable

Folks around here (and some of our better clients) are sick of hearing me talk about the new BlackBerry OS 10 and how much I love my Z10.

I started using a Bold 9700 before iPhone days when I needed to manage multiple email accounts and carry a hefty contact list. The Bold did it all well and I got to the point where I was at 30wpm and could respond to emails quickly using their “smart text” stuff.  In 2010, I tried a Droid X and liked it although I was puzzled why Blackberry wasn’t keeping up on tech trends and handling video and content consumption stuff like Android and iPhone. I wasn’t comfortable with the security of the Droid, and was suspicious of how contacts were dealt. Knowing Google like you’d know an abusive Uncle, I knew there were probably no firewalls between the company and my data and saw others have all their stuff unintentionally in Google Contacts, or Calendar or the ad engine. The Blackberry Torch was the only upgrade path with any innovation but I was soon frustrated by the lack of innovation. The slider was fun but the ability to update a blog, view video, watch Netflix and other consumption stuff weren’t there and it was obvious that there wasn’t any innovation going on there. Like the old paradigm, I had too much invested to change and was forced to live in a slum while the iPhone/iPad/Android guys were able to have fun.

Along comes the Z10. And horrific marketing. And staggeringly poor sales numbers. And further loss of market share. But what the hell… let me try one for a few days and I’ll send it back if I don’t like it. After all, my contract was up with AT&T and the durn thing was free. Here’s why I love it:

  • Super fast browser, not crippled like Safari or Chrome
  • HDMI direct to my TV
  • Bluetooth keyboard with integrated mouse means I can run anything on the web I want and get away with it. Like VNC to the office PC, Netflix, games, etc
  • You can run Android apps. I actually have some licensed apps I used on the droid over on the Z10 running with no problems.
  • SECURE! Has a partition between biz and personal data.
  • Rock Solid. No need for a battery pull 

So I’ve found my convergence device, or so I think. The end of the year BBerry took a lot of financial hits and loss of market share from what was purely poor marketing management. I know the phone carriers are incestuous  but it’s obvious that BBeryy didn’t advertize the benefits of the new OS to general users OR BUSINESSES! For a while it looked like they’d sell off some of the intellectual property they had or break up the company because their financial performance was so bad. But they got funding from Fairfax, John Chen as an interim leader and started manufacturing new devices using FoxCon. But everyone KNOWS Blackberry is going out of business, so they won’t buy their handsets.

Unfortunately, what the press has given the public is just plain wrong and here’s why:

  1. On a single phone model basis, Blackberry is out performing everyone but Apple and Android
  2. More IT managers prefer Blackberry to Windows Phone (yeah, I know but that means that Blackberry is #3 not at the bottom of the barrel
  3. The financial problems they had were all write downs, not cash losses
  4. Blackberry still has $2.6 billion in the bank with the new funding they secure the beginning of the year
  5. With the current revenue they have and the popularity of the existing products, software and services they offer, it will be extremely difficult for them to go out of business.
  6. Chen knows what he’s doing, has defined the business Blackberry is in and is moving decisively to reposition them. He’s not afraid to stand up for his customers as seen in the dust-up where T-Mobile marketed to Blackberry users (they have a contract with Blackberry) to get rid of old technology and upgrade to an iPhone 5. If you read what happened, you’ll see Chen is a no bullshit guy.

Anyway, that’s my take. I’m not a Z10 fanatic by the way. I’m not wild about the lack of keyboard, I struggle with the “fat finger” using the soft keyboard and word suggestions. I hate the battery life. But for security, managing biz stuff and still being able to effectively get work done, it works for me.